For the Winner by Emily Hauser

For the Winner by Emily Hauser

Some three thousand years ago, in a time before history, the warriors of Greece journeyed to the ends of the earth in the greatest expedition the world had ever seen. One woman fought alongside them.
When the king of Pagasae left his infant daughter on the slopes of a mountain to die, he believed he would never see her again. But Atalanta, against the will of the gods and the dictates of the Fates, survived – and went on to bring to life one of the greatest legends of all of ancient Greece…

Teaching herself to hunt and fight, Atalanta is determined to prove her worth to her father and, disguising herself as a man, she wins a place on the greatest voyage of that heroic age: the journey of Jason and the Argonauts to the very ends of the known world in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. But Atalanta is discovered, and abandoned in the mythical land of Colchis, where she is forced to make a choice that will determine her place in history – and change her life forever.

Here then is the legend of Jason and the Argonauts as never told before: the true story of the princess who became a warrior, who sailed and fought alongside Jason and Theseus and Peleus, father of Achilles, and who ultimately ran a race that would decide her destiny. Based on the myths of the ancient Greeks, For the Winner brings alive an archaic world where the gods can transform a mortal’s life on a whim, where warrior heroes carve out names that will echo down the ages . . . and where one woman fights to determine her own fate. (publisher)

As a baby, Atalanta was abandoned on Mount Pelion during a storm but rescued by a peasant family who raises her as their own. She grows up to be a tomboy learning to use the bow and hunting. After learning that she was adopted, she sets about learning the truth about her true family.

I have to confess that I’ve never heard of Atalanta or Jason and the Argonauts before reading this. My knowledge of ancient Greece is limited but still, I probably should have even heard about this before… This was my first Hauser book even though I own her first book For the Most Beautiful.

I really liked Atalanta who was strong, clever and capable of protecting herself. At first, she wants to just find her father and prove herself to him but getting to know ruthless Jason, she wants the crown to protect the people knowing she would be a fairer ruler.

I liked the scenes on Mount Olympus showing gods plotting and interfering in human affairs. This portrayal was how I always think about them. I blame Xena: Warrior Princess for that…

4/5

Published: Transworld (July 25, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

An Argument of Blood (Oath and Crown 1) by J.A. Ironside, Matthew Willis

An Argument of Blood
by J.A. Ironside & Matthew Willis

William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young dukeís dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. Heíll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old ∆lfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. ∆lfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with Williamís, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

When we first get to know William the Conqueror, he’s young and, honestly, not very likeable. He’s still learning to be duke and how to keep his dukedom. Ælfgifa is the youngest sister of Harold Godwinson, deformed and unloved especially by her mother, she has learned to read people and becomes skilled in the political game.

I’m not huge fan of William and he wasn’t very likeable here either, but he did have his moments. It was interesting to see him as a spoiled and selfish teen. That’s not necessarily how I’ve been seeing him, but it made interesting to read.

I loved Ælfgifa and I waited for her chapters. There isn’t much known about her so there’s lot more freedom writing about her. She’s intelligent and clever and gives refreshing side to the Saxon world. I really want to know how her story will develop.

3,5

Published: Penmore Press (June 19, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Authors

J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books – which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesnít get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and itís a rare story if there isnít a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

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Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 15
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Tuesday, January 16
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 17
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, January 19
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, January 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, January 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, January 26
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, January 30
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, January 31
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, February 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 2
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, February 5
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, February 7
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters 4) by Lucinda Riley

The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters 4) by Lucinda Riley

CeCe D’Aplièse has always felt like an outcast. But following the death of her father-the reclusive billionaire affectionately called Pa Salt by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe-she finds herself more alone than ever. With nothing left to lose, CeCe gathers the courage to explore the mystery of her origins. The only clues she holds are a black and white photograph and the name of a female pioneer who once lived in Australia.

One hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, a Scottish clergyman’s daughter, abandons her conservative upbringing to serve as the companion to a wealthy woman traveling from Edinburgh to Adelaide. Her ticket to a new land brings the adventure she has dreamed of… and a love that she never imagined.

When CeCe herself finally reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people. As she comes closer to finding the truth of her ancestry, CeCe begins to believe that this untamed, vast continent could offer her something she never thought possible: a sense of belonging, and a home…

This is my first Riley book and even though this is the fourth in a series, it works well as a standalone.

The book has two timelines: the present day with Cece and the past with Kitty. I really liked Cece and loved seeing how she grew and found herself while learning about her past. I wasn’t huge fan of the Thailand chapters, but it was great to learn more about aboriginals in Australia.
Kitty leaves Scotland in 1906 and moves to Australia which is a whole new world. Her life there is full of twist, and sorrow but fascinating none the less.

This was my first Riley book, but it certainly won’t be the last. I need to go back and read the previous books soon.

4/5

Published: Atria (January 23, 2018)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

Becoming Mrs. Smith by Tanya E. Williams

Becoming Mrs. Smith
by Tanya E. Williams

Not all of warís destruction takes place on the battlefield.

Violetís heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she wonít ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a womanís struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heartóperhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.

Wonderfully emotional and beautifully written, Becoming Mrs. Smith will take hold of your heartstrings and leave you longing for more.” –Kelsey Gietl, author of Across Oceans

As a child Violet suffers scarlet fever that leaves her with a fluttering heart. At first, she believes it means she will die because of her broken heart – like her grandmother. Ah, the days of innocence…

Growing up, she falls in love with her childhood friend John Smith. When WWII rages and John enlists, Violet swears she will never forgive him and at first doesn’t even read his letters from the war.

I thought it was a different and honest emotion being angry for him to enlist. Usually, in books it’s like everyone is eager for war but I doubt everyone at home supported their men when they wanted to go to war.

I don’t usually read novellas and while I enjoyed this, it was just short and I wanted to know more. But this is the first in a series so at least there will be more.

3,5/5

Published: Rippling Effects Writing & Photography (October 10, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

A writer from a young age, Tanya E Williams loves to help a reader get lost in another time, another place through the magic of books. History continues to inspire her stories and her insightfulness into the human condition deepens her character’s experiences and propels them on their journey. Ms. Williams’ favourite tales, speak to the reader’s heart, making them smile, laugh, cry, and think.

For more information, please visit Tanya Williams’ website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 30
Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, October 31
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Wednesday, November 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 2
Review at Bookish

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Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 6
Review at Once Upon A Book

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Feature at The Reading Queen

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Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Thursday, November 9
Excerpt at Just One More Chapter

Friday, November 10
Feature at Jenn’s Book Vibes

Monday, November 13
Excerpt at What Cathy Read Next

Tuesday, November 14
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

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Feature at A Literary Vacation
Review at Singing Librarian Books

Friday, November 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books
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A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus by Various authors

A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus

by David Blixt, Amalia Carosella, Libbie Hawker, Scott Oden, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and Russell Whitfield

Odysseus, infamous trickster of Troy, vaunted hero of the Greeks, left behind a wake of chaos and despair during his decade long journey home to Ithaca. Lovers and enemies, witches and monsters–no one who tangled with Odysseus emerged unscathed. Some prayed for his return, others, for his destruction. These are their stories…

A beleaguered queen’s gambit for maintaining power unravels as a son plots vengeance.

A tormented siren battles a goddess’s curse and the forces of nature to survive.

An exiled sorceress defies a lustful captain and his greedy crew.

A blinded shepherd swears revenge on the pirate-king who mutilated him.

A beautiful empress binds a shipwrecked sailor to servitude, only to wonder who is serving whom.

A young suitor dreams of love while a returned king conceives a savage retribution.

Six authors bring to life the epic tale of The Odyssey seen through the eyes of its shattered victims—the monsters, witches, lovers, and warriors whose lives were upended by the antics of the “man of many faces.” You may never look upon this timeless epic—and its iconic ancient hero—in quite the same way again.

I haven’t read anything by Homer and while I know the basics of Odyssey and his journey, there is much to learn. Mostly I know Circe, Calypso etc by name but that’s about it. In a way, it’s a good thing since I don’t have anything to compare these characters to.

My favorite chapters were with Penelope. I loved seeing how she manages to keep the throne during all those years her husband was away. She had to be clever to do that since the majority of Ithaca’s men were gone to war or died on the journey. And she was realistic enough to wonder how he would explain his absence during all those years away.

Another awesome collaboration from the authors. David Blixt, Scott Oden, and Amalia Carosella were new authors for me. Another great book by The H Team and I’ve really come to look forward to these books.

4/5

Published: Knight Media, LLC (October 17, 2017)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Authors

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). Amalia’s novels include Tamer of Horses, Helen of Sparta, By Helen’s Hand, and Daughter of a Thousand Years.

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David Blixt‘s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history.

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, he describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

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Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. Libbie’s recent novels include Daughter of Sand and Stone, Mercer Girls, A Song of War, White Lotus and Persian Rose.

She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

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Russell Whitfield was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

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Scott Oden was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a Hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting over his lovely wife, Shannon.

Oden’s previous works include the historical fantasy, The Lion of Cairo, and two historical novels, Men of Bronze and Memnon. He is currently working on his next novel.

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Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of multiple books set in the ancient world, including the YA novels, CLEOPATRA’S MOON, based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter, and CURSES AND SMOKE: A NOVEL OF POMPEII and the adult historical collaborations, A SONG OF WAR, A YEAR OF RAVENS, and A DAY OF FIRE. She has written a mid-grade series on mythology (ANUBIS SPEAKS, HADES SPEAKS, and THOR SPEAKS) as well as two award-winning biographies for kids. She a She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 17
Review at A Book Drunkard

Wednesday, October 18
Feature at A Holland Reads

Thursday, October 19
Feature at View From the Birdhouse

Friday, October 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, October 23
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, October 24
Feature at The Reading Queen

Wednesday, October 25
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 26
Review at What Cathy Read Next

Friday, October 27
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 30
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, October 31
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Wednesday, November 1
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, November 2
Feature at The Writing Desk

Friday, November 3
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, November 6
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, November 7
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, November 8
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 10
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, November 13
Review at Unabridged Chick
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 14
Review at Bookramblings
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, November 16
Feature at I Heart Reading

Friday, November 17
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The True Book Addict